A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Biennial Evaluation Report - FY 93-94

Chapter 401

Vocational Education--Basic Grants to States

(CFDA No. 84.048)

I. Program Profile

Legislation: Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act (P.L. 98-524), Title II, Part A and Part B (20 U.S.C. 2331-2334 and 2341-2342 respectively) (expires September 30, 1995).

Purposes: It is the purpose of this Act to make the United States more competitive in the world economy by developing more fully the academic and occupational skills of all segments of the population. This purpose will principally be achieved through concentrating resources on improving educational programs leading to academic and occupational skill competencies needed to work in a technologically advanced society.

Funding History

Fiscal Year Appropriation 1/ Fiscal Year Appropriation
1965 $168,607,000 1986 $743,965,099
1970 342,747,000 1987 809,507,974
1975 494,488,000 1988 798,665,863
1980 719,244,000 1989 825,600,408
1981 637,315,000 1990 844,429,254
1982 587,736,648 1991 848,359,869
1983 657,902,000 1992 940,171,000
1984 666,628,758 1993 962,524,509
1985 777,633,758 1994 955,566,000

1/ These amounts include funds provided to the States each year under the Smith-Hughes Act's permanent appropriation. For FY 1965 through FY 1984, the amounts represent funds appropriated under P.L. 94-482. For FY 1985 through FY 1990, the amounts represent funds appropriated under P.L. 98-524 and for FY 1991 through FY 1994 P.L. 101-392.

II. Program Information and Analysis

Performance Indicators

Following up on its 1991 study of State performance standards systems required by the Perkins Act of 1990, the National Center for Research in Vocational Education surveyed State vocational education directors to assess the status of their efforts as of Fall 1992 (III.6). By this time, all States had implemented more than the required two performance standards and measures. At the secondary level, 44 States had adopted 4 to 10 measures, while 42 States had adopted 4 to 10 measures at the postsecondary level. Somewhat fewer States had set standards, for these measures, in part because they need baseline data.

National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE), was mandated by the Perkins Act Amendments of 1990 to conduct an assessment of vocational education programs assisted under the Act. NAVE findings from data collected and analyses conducted over a period of 3 years are contained in an interim and final reports (III.7 and 8).

States are making substantial progress toward development of systems of performance standards and measures, but there has been little implementation at the local level (III.7).

Population Targeting and Services

Consistent with the intent of the 1990 Amendments, NAVE found that funds were concentrated among fewer institutions and funds were better targeted on institutions with a large number of special population students (III.7, 8). However, changes were mixed:

--For the 20 percent of districts with the highest concentrations of special population students, changes to the allocation formula increased the per-pupil award substantially, while there was also a substantial increase in funding for districts with some of the lowest proportion of special population students due to the "consortia" provision.

At the secondary level, the issue of access to vocational education for special population students has become an issue of access to high-quality programs (III.7, 8).

Postsecondary vocational education enrollments are increasing along with total postsecondary enrollments (III.7, 8).

Program Administration

Basic Grants programs operating during FY 1992 and FY 1993 were supported by funds appropriated for FY 1991 and FY1992, respectively, under P.L. 98-524. Under those authorizations, after setting aside up to five percent of the basic grant award, or $250,000, whichever is greater, for administration, States were required to allot 75 percent of their basic grant for the secondary school vocational education program and the postsecondary and adult vocational education programs. In addition, at least seven percent of the Basic Grant is to be used to support programs for single parents, displaced homemakers, and single pregnant women, while at least three percent of the basic grant must be used to operate a sex equity program. Ultimately, 10.5 percent of the basic grant must be spent for these purposes. Not more than 8.5 percent of the basic grant must be expended for State programs and State leadership activities. Finally, 1 percent of the basic grant is to be expended for programs for criminal offenders.

Seventy percent of the allocation of basic grant funds to local education agencies (LEAs) is based on the LEA's proportion of the State's allotment under section 1005 of Chapter 1. Twenty percent is predicated on the number of disabled students served by the LEA; and 10 percent of the basic grant award is based on student enrollments. With respect to allocations to postsecondary institutions, funds are dispersed on the basis of each eligible recipient's proportionate share of the State's number of vocational students who are Pell Grant recipients, as well as those students who receive assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Perkins legislation establishes a minimum grant of $15,000 for LEAs and $50,000 for eligible postsecondary institutions. For LEAs with a projected allocation of less than $15,000, the option exists to form consortia with other LEAs to operate joint programs and/or services, thereby enabling smaller LEAs to participate in federally funded vocational education programs.


Although the average number of credits completed by high school students continues to increase, vocational coursetaking has been decreasing (III.7, 8). Vocational education at both the secondary and postsecondary levels can have significant benefits (III.7, 8). The Perkins Act has affected local programs. Compared with districts that did not receive Perkins grants, funded districts have taken more steps to integrate curricula and to develop tech-prep programs (III.7, 8).

Most vocational teachers feel ill-prepared to teach academics, and academic teachers are even less likely to feel prepared to teach occupational principles (III.7, 8).

III. Sources of InformationOURCES OF INFORMATION

  1. Program files.

  2. National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE) Final Report, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Vol. I, July 1989, Vol. II, May 1989).

  3. Vocational Education in the United States: 1969-90 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, April 1992).

  4. Vocational Education: Status in School Year in 1990-91 and Early Signs of Change at Secondary Level (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office (GAO)/HRD-93-71, July 1993).

  5. Vocational Education: Status in 2-Year Colleges in 1990-91 and Early Signs of Change (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office (GAO)/HRD-93-89, August 1993).

  6. State Systems for Accountability in Vocational Education (University of California, Berkeley: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, December 1992).

  7. National Assessment of Vocational Education Interim Report to Congress (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, December 1993).

  8. National Assessment of Vocational Education Final Report to Congress, Volumes I-V (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, July 1994).

IV. Planned Studies

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990 authorized a new national assessment, although no funds were appropriated for this purpose in FY 1991. An interim report was submitted to Congress on January 1, 1994. A final report was due by July 1, 1994.

Through studies and analyses conducted independently after competitive awards, the new assessment will include descriptions and evaluations of:

V. Contacts for Further Information

Program Operations:
Ron Castaldi, (202) 205-9444

Program Studies:
Audrey Pendleton, (202) 401-3630

[Overview: Learning for Work and Life] [Table of Contents] [Vocational Education--Indian and Hawaiian Natives Programs]